Pet insurance recommendations?

Novus888

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Anyone in the USA have pet insurance that pays their part to the veterinarian, instead of making you pay the whole bill then reimbursing you?
 
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Novus888

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4 Pet Insurance Providers That Pay Vet Directly | LendEDU

Read all the way to the bottom. I do have pet insurance, but not with any of these providers, although Trupanion is quite popular and members of TCS have used it. Nationwide and Progressive may also pay upfront, but I am not sure.
Thanks. Note that Petplan has been taken over by Fetch Pet Insurance, and no longer has direct pay for vets nor has wellness coverage nor very good reviews.
 

stephanietx

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I don't have pet insurance. I just have a sinking fund for vet expenses. We top it off at $5K.
 

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As you can see from my table in the post above, Trupanion was the most expensive of the options I researched.

If you are looking for insurance to pick up routine vet visits, that's generally not covered under insurance. That would fall under another offering called a wellness plan. Wellness plans are often more like a budgeting tool than insurance. They bundle a bunch of services together that they will reimburse you for at a small discount. If you use all the services, you can come out slightly ahead (maybe 15-20% off retail.) One nice thing about wellness plans is that you can run your cat down to the vet as often as you feel like it and that exam fee to walk through the door is covered.

But wellness plans don't cover the bigger expenses like labs and radiology and dental expenses. For this, you would need insurance. These are often called accident and illness plans. They don't cover the routine stuff (that's what a wellness plan is for.) But the unexpected stuff that can really bankrupt you, that's what these plans are for. If your cats are otherwise healthy and do not have any exclusions on their policy (pre-existing conditions), your accident and illness bills will be capped at your annual deductible plus the copay rate, or 100 minus the reimbursement rate--usually 90%. For a $10,000 bill with a $1,000 deductible, you will pay $1900. Ideally your cat won’t have any accident or illness expenses and you can use the savings from not paying for a wellness plan to pay into an accidental and illness savings account so that even that $1900 bill won’t be such a shock to the budget.

If you can afford the wellness plan and intend to use it, it can be a good value. Otherwise, I would say save for the routine stuff in a separate account and skip the wellness plan.

For insurance, max out your deductible to lower your monthly premium. If you can afford an annual option, just pay it once so you don't grumble about it on a monthly basis. Seek a lower premium over a lower deductible and you'll be more likely to keep the plan over rate increases. And once you have your cats insured, keep that insurance at all costs. Because everything that goes into their health record can become a pre-existing condition for the next insurance company or even changing your policy within the current company.
 
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fionasmom

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And once you have your cats insured, keep that insurance at all costs. Because everything that goes into their health record can become a pre-existing condition for the next insurance company or even changing your policy within the current company.

If you decide later that you want to change your deductible, for example, most companies will create a new policy. Everything that was covered and treated will now become preexisting and uninsured.

Pet insurance companies report to the state departments of insurance, in case you ever have a dispute.
 
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Novus888

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As you can see from my table in the post above, Trupanion was the most expensive of the options I researched.

If you are looking for insurance to pick up routine vet visits, that's generally not covered under insurance. That would fall under another offering called a wellness plan. Wellness plans are often more like a budgeting tool than insurance. They bundle a bunch of services together that they will reimburse you for at a small discount. If you use all the services, you can come out slightly ahead (maybe 15-20% off retail.) One nice thing about wellness plans is that you can run your cat down to the vet as often as you feel like it and that exam fee to walk through the door is covered.

But wellness plans don't cover the bigger expenses like labs and radiology and dental expenses. For this, you would need insurance. These are often called accident and illness plans. They don't cover the routine stuff (that's what a wellness plan is for.) But the unexpected stuff that can really bankrupt you, that's what these plans are for. If your cats are otherwise healthy and do not have any exclusions on their policy (pre-existing conditions), your accident and illness bills will be capped at your annual deductible plus the copay rate, or 100 minus the reimbursement rate--usually 90%. For a $10,000 bill with a $1,000 deductible, you will pay $1900. Ideally your cat won’t have any accident or illness expenses and you can use the savings from not paying for a wellness plan to pay into an accidental and illness savings account so that even that $1900 bill won’t be such a shock to the budget.

If you can afford the wellness plan and intend to use it, it can be a good value. Otherwise, I would say save for the routine stuff in a separate account and skip the wellness plan.

For insurance, max out your deductible to lower your monthly premium. If you can afford an annual option, just pay it once so you don't grumble about it on a monthly basis. Seek a lower premium over a lower deductible and you'll be more likely to keep the plan over rate increases. And once you have your cats insured, keep that insurance at all costs. Because everything that goes into their health record can become a pre-existing condition for the next insurance company or even changing your policy within the current company.
In my situation the very premise that most pet insurance operates under is ludicrous. If I could afford a $1000+ vet bill (or $1000 deductible), I'd have no need to fool with insurance....so expecting me to cover it, then reimbursing me is just plain silly. I'll have to stick with plans that do 'direct pay' and that SF SPCA accepts. Right now it looks like Trupanion and Pet's Best are the only possibles. Both of them and SPCA are being coy and evasive as to whether or not they play nice with each other. I'll likely have to wait to go eye-to-eye with the vet to get any answer from SPCA. Probably thumbscrews and waterboarding will be necessary to get an answer from the insurance companies. I'm undecided about the wellness plan option. Right now I'm focused on the main deal.
 

artiemom

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Thanks. Note that Petplan has been taken over by Fetch Pet Insurance, and no longer has direct pay for vets nor has wellness coverage nor very good reviews.
Unfortunately, I chose PetPlan/Fetch for Geoffrey... ugh.. did not know about the current bad reviews... I wonder what will happen when I submit his endoscopy bill??

ugh
 

daftcat75

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In my situation the very premise that most pet insurance operates under is ludicrous. If I could afford a $1000+ vet bill (or $1000 deductible), I'd have no need to fool with insurance....so expecting me to cover it, then reimbursing me is just plain silly. I'll have to stick with plans that do 'direct pay' and that SF SPCA accepts. Right now it looks like Trupanion and Pet's Best are the only possibles. Both of them and SPCA are being coy and evasive as to whether or not they play nice with each other. I'll likely have to wait to go eye-to-eye with the vet to get any answer from SPCA. Probably thumbscrews and waterboarding will be necessary to get an answer from the insurance companies. I'm undecided about the wellness plan option. Right now I'm focused on the main deal.
Even a direct pay insurer will still require a deductible. If you cannot afford a deductible, you likely cannot afford insurance, and should be saving that money for when you can. Hopefully your cat(s) will still be healthy and not have pre-existing conditions in their health record when you can afford insurance.

If you can't afford a deductible, you likely cannot afford a wellness plan either. Those are generally $600/year and up. It's all well and good if you're going to use every covered service in the wellness plan basket. Otherwise, you are throwing away that money. You're basically saying, "yes, I will sign up for nearly $700/year of vet expenses just so I can get a small discount on them."

Trupanion will make you pay through the nose for their premium. If you are struggling to pay a deductible, you're really going to feel it with Trupanion's premium prices (and annual increases!)

Just because you have a $1000 deductible doesn't mean you will be paying $1000 each year. But, you need to sign them up when they are healthy. No policy will cover their pre-existing conditions. My suggestion still stands. Max out your deductible to lower your premium. Bank your savings from every healthy month and year to cover the deductibles and copays when crap happens.
 
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Novus888

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Unfortunately, I chose PetPlan/Fetch for Geoffrey... ugh.. did not know about the current bad reviews... I wonder what will happen when I submit his endoscopy bill??

ugh
No idea. It doesn't appear to be the worst insurance around, but definitely not the best....at least not anymore. It always pays to do the homework/legwork, and research the hell out of anything you buy, before you buy it. A little tediousness now goes a long way towards avoiding regrets later. True for cat trees, pet insurance, hiring a handyman or anything else you can think of. The internet makes finding reviews, BBB score, complaints, online reputation, etc., fairly easy.
 
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Novus888

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Even a direct pay insurer will still require a deductible. If you cannot afford a deductible, you likely cannot afford insurance, and should be saving that money for when you can. Hopefully your cat(s) will still be healthy and not have pre-existing conditions in their health record when you can afford insurance.

If you can't afford a deductible, you likely cannot afford a wellness plan either. Those are generally $600/year and up. It's all well and good if you're going to use every covered service in the wellness plan basket. Otherwise, you are throwing away that money. You're basically saying, "yes, I will sign up for nearly $700/year of vet expenses just so I can get a small discount on them."

Trupanion will make you pay through the nose for their premium. If you are struggling to pay a deductible, you're really going to feel it with Trupanion's premium prices (and annual increases!)

Just because you have a $1000 deductible doesn't mean you will be paying $1000 each year. But, you need to sign them up when they are healthy. No policy will cover their pre-existing conditions. My suggestion still stands. Max out your deductible to lower your premium. Bank your savings from every healthy month and year to cover the deductibles and copays when crap happens.
All the insurance I have looked into have $250 to $500 deductibles, which is within reach. $1000 is not, be it a vet bill, deductible or anything else. As mentioned before, my emergency fund for Buddy stands at $500. I expect I'll have to increase that by $500 to cover the deductible and my half of the vet bill. Pet's Best quote was around $60 a month including the wellness plan and $500 deductible....slightly less is paid quarterly or yearly. Within reach. Not looked into Trupanion yet.
 

artiemom

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No idea. It doesn't appear to be the worst insurance around, but definitely not the best....at least not anymore. It always pays to do the homework/legwork, and research the hell out of anything you buy, before you buy it. A little tediousness now goes a long way towards avoiding regrets later. True for cat trees, pet insurance, hiring a handyman or anything else you can think of. The internet makes finding reviews, BBB score, complaints, online reputation, etc., fairly easy.
I purchased Geoffrey's Petplan policy, Now Fetch, in November of 2018. It was rated pretty good, at that time.. sigh...

I did a lot of research on it. Most of the insurance companies have poor ratings with the BBB, and complaints.
I still think they are all somewhat a scam... Not regulated, so the consumer cannot possibly win...nothing is stable.

Even the high rated ones have problems...
 

IndyJones

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I've never gone past the free trial included with Indy's microchip. Never needed to use it in the 30 days and never bothered renewing it.

I don't like all the legal jargon that they use and find it horribly confusing. Car insurance makes more sense to me than the language used on these pet insurance things. I would have to hire an accountant or something to explain it to me.
 
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Novus888

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I purchased Geoffrey's Petplan policy, Now Fetch, in November of 2018. It was rated pretty good, at that time.. sigh...

I did a lot of research on it. Most of the insurance companies have poor ratings with the BBB, and complaints.
I still think they are all somewhat a scam... Not regulated, so the consumer cannot possibly win...nothing is stable.

Even the high rated ones have problems...
Yes, Petplan had good reviews across the board, then went into a death spiral upon becoming Fetch. I know of no way to avoid this. My only answer is to keep an eagle eye on stuff like that, and when it gets taken over by a crappy company, jump ship! When Washington Mutual (THE best bank I ever dealt with) got absorbed by Chase (THE worst bank ever), I was quick to move to a credit union. Same for when Central Bank got taken over by Bank Of The West. When my computer tech got uppity, and decided he would no longer deign to work on anything but Win 8/Win 10, he got the boot, and was replaced by another that does just as good a job, is cheaper, and saves the EOL/EOS rant for someone who cares. When Amazon decided that for me to log-in, knowing the password was no longer enough...I would also have to solve a difficult captcha (actually three or four since they were difficult), then get a secret code sent to my email, then another round of captchas...I closed the account. Things change, and we have to keep up with such changes, and when necessary...make our own changes by giving the offender a swift boot in the butt out the door! No one is irreplaceable.

You will not find a perfect company to deal with...ever. The best you can aim for is good enough, while avoiding the worst.
 
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Novus888

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I've never gone past the free trial included with Indy's microchip. Never needed to use it in the 30 days and never bothered renewing it.

I don't like all the legal jargon that they use and find it horribly confusing. Car insurance makes more sense to me than the language used on these pet insurance things. I would have to hire an accountant or something to explain it to me.
If you can swing a $1000+ vet bill without insurance that would be ideal. All insurance is essentially a scam, a bit like gambling at Vegas. In both cases The House is betting that in the long run, they will get more of your money than you will get of theirs.
 

IndyJones

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If you can swing a $1000+ vet bill without insurance that would be ideal. All insurance is essentially a scam, a bit like gambling at Vegas. In both cases The House is betting that in the long run, they will get more of your money than you will get of theirs.
If I really needed my credit score is good enough I could always take out a loan from the bank. I also have a line of credit. If possible I would feel far better dealing with the bank if possible rather than a third party.
 
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